Raw power meets perfect design

robustly-built The new Vento's powerful 1.5-litre TDI engine, sophisticated clutch management, and improved fuel economy makes it a winner by far

Raw power meets perfect design

I have never encouraged any of my family members or friends to buy an automatic transmission (AT) car. Factors like the car’s pick-up and power were intimidating for someone like me, used to driving cars with manual transmissions.

But everything changed one day, when I got to drive Europe’s largest carmaker Volkswagen’s Vento.

The Vento is not just another ‘car’. With its sports car-like appeal under the hood, it is unbelievably one of the best bets available in the mid-size sedan segment.

Mark my words, just go for a test drive, who knows you might end up buying one!At first, I too was skeptical when told to test-drive the Vento Highline AT DSG. It was a cloudy Sunday morning when I beheld the toffee-brown machine. Though a rather dated sedan, having been on Indian roads for a few years now, the robustly-built car, with a heavy stance, appears elegantly carved in its all-new avatar. The new dual-beam headlamps (complete in black finish) and fog lamps will bring you a notch closer to class. Even the rear bumper and powerful tail lights are quite impressive.

The body-coloured mirrors are the perfect mix of design and function. Interestingly, the mirrors are stretchable enough to take a hit in chock-a-block traffic. The wheels come wrapped in new 15-inch spokane alloys and the sleek body-coloured door handles beckon you to come in and behold the splendour.

I was eager to see what was under the hood. The new Vento comes with a powerful 1.5-litre TDI (turbocharged direct injection) engine, which churns out a notable 103 bhp power and 250 Nm torque.

TDI is a design of turbo diesel engines which feature turbocharging and cylinder direct fuel injection developed and produced by the Volkswagen Group. In direct injection, the fuel skips waiting inside a standard engine, and instead proceeds straight to the combustion chamber. This allows fuel to burn more evenly and thoroughly to give better mileage and greater power.

Turbo-charge appears on diesel engines. A turbo can significantly boost an engine’s horsepower without measurably increasing its weight.

Inviting, classy interiors
The moment you take the driver’s seat, you will notice the flat-bottom steering wheel with smart controls, mounted conveniently on the tilt and telescopic steering wheel. The luxuriously upholstered seats, including the height-adjustable driver’s seat, will add an extra bit of indulgence. Open any door and the footwell too lights up, lending the  cabin more visibility. The rear seats are very spacious which can make a seven-feet tall person sit comfortably with the help of the centre armrest. The boot space can occupy your neighbour’s luggage.

In response to popular demand for advanced, refined, diesel automatics, the new Vento 1.5 TDI is now available with Volkswagen’s technologically-advanced 7-Speed Dual-Clutch DSG automatic transmission, a feature unique to the segment.

Volkswagen’s 7-Speed DSG has two clutches; clutch 1 handles odd-numbered gears, clutch 2 handles even-numbered gears plus reverse gear. As a result of this sophisticated clutch management, there are no gaps in propulsive power and power delivery remains uninterrupted. The “lag” that is sometimes associated with conventional automatics is non-existent. 

In addition to providing outstanding driving, Volkswagen’s 7-Speed DSG, with its perfectly timed and executed gearshifts, also helps with improving fuel economy and lowering emissions.

The anti-lock braking system keeps you in control on slippery roads or during heavy braking, while the anti-pinch technology stops windows from closing on sensing even the slightest obstacle ahead. The Vento comes with dual front airbags as standard and  a rear parking sensor. As a finishing touch, the key of the new Vento has a standard electronic immobiliser anti-theft device.

I switch on the ignition, and pat comes the advice from the VW driver to keep my left leg to rest and the use the  right leg for both the brake and accelerator. 

The German major has to be appreciated for training drivers. With high volume of music, the excitement increases. And with just a slight touch to the accelerator, the Vento vrooms. The powerful engine, plus a quick shifting automatic gearbox, makes the drive so comfortable.

Having decided to drive initially inside the city to see how it tackles the traffic, the new Vento with 5.4 m turning radius and electronic power steering makes it easy to navigate even in the most congested places.

In a bid to stretch the car at higher speeds, I took the NICE road. Believe it or not, in Sports mode I didn’t even realise it when the car touched 200 kmph. Oh boy, I felt like I am driving a Formula One racing car. 

The kick you get with the turbocharger is mindblowing, and you feel like pushing the car a little bit more.

For Vento, the DSG can be a game changer. To cross 0-100 kmph it just takes a little over 10 seconds.

No worries on bad roads
After highway, it was time to test the Vento on bad roads. Devarayanadurga is a rocky hill station situated in the midst of picturesque scenery at an attitude of 3,940 ft and about nine miles to the east of Tumakuru. It is located 73 km from Bengaluru on the Tumakuru Road, and is surrounded by forests and several temples.  

I reached Udiger, a  tiny hamlet which has enough bad roads and potholes. But the Vento takes on bad roads and doesn’t tend to trip on potholes. The MacPherson strut with stabiliser bar in the front and semi-independent trailing arm gives you a smooth drive.

Moreover, the brake is so good that it needs just a slight touch to halt your car. The new Vento is available with a range of four-cylinder engines — 1.6 MPI, 1.2 TSI, and 1.5 TDI.

The new Vento’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder TDI turbo-diesel engine produces 103 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque, which provides impressive performance on the road, while its fuel economy figure of 21.21 kmpl provides uncompromised efficiency. The Vento Highline AT DSG is competitively priced at Rs 11,73,702 (ex-showroom Bengaluru).

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